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No More Sad Refrains: The Life of Sandy Denny Paperback – 6 Jun 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press (6 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849386986
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849386982
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 23.4 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 431,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

With intimate accounts from friends and colleagues, this is a bold but never sensationalised look at the finest British singer-songwriter of them all -- Uncut

[This]is essentially yet another sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll tale, with stage fright and alcohol chasers…. Compelling -- The Herald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Gripping biog of the best English female singer-songwriter
Clinton Heylin's biography (details listed above were initially incorrect and will shortly be corrected) No More Sad Refrains, draws on hours of fresh interviews with Sandy's closest friends and musical collaborators, access to her diaries and unreleased work, to produce a moving portrait of a complex, driven, but fatally flawed genius, who remains the finest female singer-songwriter this country has ever produced. "My favourite singer out of all the British girls that ever were." Robert Plant --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Mar. 2001
Format: Hardcover
For many people, Sandy Denny remains Britain's foremost female singer-songwriter. After a brief stint with the Strawbs, she came to prominence in the seminal folk-rock band Fairport Convention. Three ground-breaking albums later she left to form her own band, Fotheringay, and then recorded four beautiful solo albums. (She was also the only singer ever to guest on a Led Zeppelin album, on "The Battle of Evermore".) The last line of the last song on her last album was, "I won't be singing any more sad refrains." In April 1978, less than a year after its release, Sandy Denny was dead, aged just 31.
Denny's most famous song is "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?", and somehow it's taken over two decades for the unvarnished story of her life and death to come out. Clinton Heylin's biography is no hagiography; Sandy Denny was no saint. Most of her fans will be surprised to learn that she was a heavy drinker, and terribly insecure. Heylin blames many of those around her for making her insecurity even worse. He brands her adored but roving husband Trevor Lucas (who died in 1989) "a mediocre musician" who badgered Denny into writing more songs, then dismissed them as sounding too much the same. He blames Denny's early producer, Joe Boyd, for pulling the plug on Fotheringay half way through recording their second album, forcing her unwillingly to go solo. ("Solo" is one of her most ironic songs, as much about broken love as about singing.)
Heylin's book, which includes photographs, some of Denny's drawings, pages from her diaries, and unrecorded and draft lyrics, is a sharp-edged record of her personal and professional frustrations and missed opportunities.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 2002
Format: Paperback
Sandy Denny has to be one of the greatest British singers ever. Her voice had a haunting quality and a truly natural sound and was able to make your spirits soar or break your heart.
This book acquaints you with the woman behind the voice. As the author says, "Solo the voice could now be heard in all its resonating purity, driven by an unerring instinct, but the secret Sandy remained a deeply unhappy person, for whom the songs remained her only release."
There are lots of touching anecdotes, like the time Sandy invited her friend Bambi Ballard to a studio at one in the morning to play the songs of the album "Sandy." After each song the insecure Sandy asked "You don't want to hear any more, do you?" Bambi Ballard, the sole audience, with tears running down her face had to reassure her that each song was lovely and to urge her to play another.
The book also corrects the notion that Sandy fell as a result of falling downstairs - and helps to explain why the some of the facts were played down.
In short if you like Sandy Denny's music, this book is a "must" and is extremely readable.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 8 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
If you have ever enjoyed Sandy's music, you should read this, but be warned. It is very depressing to read about someone so talented and so hell-bent on self-destruction. Despite the total contrast in their voices, Sandy consciously modelled herself on Janis Joplin, and the ensuing lifestyle wreaked the inevitable consequences. If I have one criticism of this book, it is in the sometimes shoddy writing/editing. There are a number of spelling and grammatical errors, but by far the most annoying feature is the way Heylin insists on inserting his own words into other people's quotations - ostensibly for reasons of clarity, but in most cases completely unnecessary. I don't have an actual example to hand, but to give you the idea, if someone says something like "She was a bit of a heavy drinker", it's likely to come out as "[Sandy][at that time] was a bit of a heavy [brandy] drinker". It adds nothing to the meaning, and after a while becomes highly intrusive and irritating. That aside, it's a very good (if sobering) read.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Solzhi on 31 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
Heylin took the writing of this book on after the publisher rejected the manuscript of the original author, and I can't help but feel that his reasons for so doing were as much about his ego as anything else. The book is a depressing read, by and large, and not just for the relentless details of the Denny's self destruction. Heylin misses no opportunity to give us the benefit of his negativity regarding the recorded work. One really gets the impression that he doesn't much like most of the things she did - some great songs, yes, and the voice of course, but there's almost always something wrong as far as our Clinton is concerned, from production, through song selection, to Sandy's "shot" voice latterly (according to Clint). The writing also sometimes canters towards the cliche ridden from time to time, almost as if Heylin coudn't really be bothered. I hope someone else has another go whilst most of the main players are still alive. There is a great biography waiting for someone with the ability (and feeling) to write it.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Hans Valk on 17 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Why it took so long to reprint this book remains a mystery. It has been out of print for many years. Since then a renewed interest in Sandy Denny has steadily been growing and the book had become something of a collector's item. There was money to be made by reprinting it and it could have been made 5 years ago. Anyhow: the reprint has finally arrived.

The book has received a lot of bad publicity over the years; nobody who is considered an authority on Sandy Denny seems to think it is any good. And sure enough the book has it's faults. It offers almost everything there is to know on Denny's personal life, but her music is hardly being discussed, let alone analised.
In general, Heylin, in telling his story, does not keep enough distance in some parts, giving personal opinions where a clean representation of the facts or just sticking to quotes of witnesses would have made situations perfectly clear. He is also a little too anxious to lay the blame for Sandy's personal problems and downfall with certain people.
The book still seems to contain many of the spelling errors and crooked sentences that it did when it first appeared, which I find rather respectless to it's new readers.
The more strange it is to find that Heylin did have time to add, at the end of the book, a separate piece on all the CD's with 'previously unreleased tracks' that have appeared since the book was written. Heylin dismisses most of them as mere attempts to empty the pockets of the hardcore fans, the CD's themselves being marred by the wrong choices of song-versions and other evils.
It is especially in this part of the book that Heylin shows why some people dislike him so much.
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